If, like me, you like bananas you won’t be happy to know that the world’s most popular type of banana, the Cavendish, is facing extinction.
The disease is said to be a more virulent strain of the Panama disease which wiped out the Gros Michel type of banana which Britons used to eat up until the 1950s.
The new variant of the Panama disease - TR4 - has not reached the main exporting countries in Latin America or Africa, but it is now spreading widely through Cavendish plantations in Asia - Indonesia, Taiwan, southern provinces of China and Malaysia.
But even though the Cavendish could disappear, experts are confident that a bunch of alternative bananas could fill the void. The caveat is that the taste and texture will be changed forever and there is likely to be a rise in price.
But while the Cavendish may be the world’s most commercially important banana, it certainly ain’t the only banana out there of course. Indonesia has at least 42 varieties of banana, ranging from the sickly sweet Pisang Mas (gold banana) to the donkey-kong sized Pisang Ambon. So what ever happens to the Cavendish, we certainly won’t be living in a bananaless world.
Thanks to its phallic shape the banana has become an important part of pop culture in the West of course.
And in the UK, the classic adult comic Viz pays homage to this wonderful yellow fruit in its Tommy "Banana" Johnson comic strip.
In the story, for reasons which are not explained, Tommy is in possession of a huge four-foot long banana. But other than being rather large, this banana has no special qualities.
In the strip, during a walk in the local park, Tommy first encounters a painter who is worried that approaching rainclouds will wash the paint off the fence he's been working on. Tommy suggests using his banana as a hair-dryer, but this only serves to annoy the painter.
He then runs into a man who's lost his dog (who actually isn't that far away), and suggests that he uses the banana as a telescope. But like the painter this man is also unimpressed. However, the banana does eventually come in useful. Because at the end of the strip, a copper decides to shut Tommy up once and for all by ramming the banana all the way up Tommy’s butt.
Interestingly, the banana plant is actually a herb, but because of its size and structure, is often mistaken for a tree.
So don’t be surprised that bananas can get you high, containing a small quantity of the drug Musa Sapientum Bananadine, a mild, short-lasting psychedelic. Sure there may be easier ways of getting there, but the great advantage to this method is that bananas are legal.
The recipe, as obtained from the 1998 version of the “Anarchist’s Cookbook” is as follows:
1. Obtain 15 pounds of ripe yellow bananas
2. Peel all and eat the fruit. Save the peelings
3. Scrape all the insides of the peels with a sharp knife.
4. Put all the scraped material in a large pot and add water.
5. Boil 3 or 4 hours until it has attained a solid paste consistency.
6. Spread paste onto cookie sheets and dry in often for about 20 minutes. This will result in fine black powder. Usually one will feel the effects after smoking three to four cigarettes.